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DuPont Senior Vice President and Chief Science & Technology Officer Uma Chowdhry offered her perspectives on the importance of science in the formation of global policy during a discussion at the World Economic Forum here today.
"The role of science is to inform the policymaking process, to help understand both benefits and risks, and to inform the limits of what is knowable, and what is possible," Chowdhry said. "Future progress requires a symbiotic relationship between science and policy in order to secure a lasting and sustainable future for ourselves and generations to come. Policy balances many societal interests. The role of science in this discourse should be to inform but not fully define that balance."
Chowdhry participated in a forum panel "Science and the Global Agenda" which considered the relationship between science and public policy, and outlined how science can inform policymaking in the future. The discussion addressed aging societies, climate change, disease eradication, nuclear non- proliferation and environmental degradation, and the important scientific dimensions that must be considered.
"The magnitude of the challenges that we are discussing requires major advances in our scientific knowledge and understanding," Chowdhry said. "Policy makers have the power to accelerate these advances by setting grand challenges to stimulate and direct scientific creativity; by providing targeted government funding to pursue these grand challenges; and, fostering science education and other programs that build the human scientific capital to assure the best minds are attracted to these areas.
"Policy also guides science through the establishment of ethical guidelines and regulatory requirements that specify the conditions under which new science can be brought to fruition in the marketplace, Chowdhry noted. "Such regulatory policies are currently the focus of important debates in emerging areas such as biotechnologies and nanotechnologies. With nanotechnologies, for example, there is today a healthy level of interaction of ideas among policymakers, academic scientists, corporations and public interest groups that may establish an important model for constructive collaboration in the future."
DuPont is actively engaged in the global dialogue on nanotechnologies and biotechnologies. For example, the company has actively called for and engaged in collaboration in the development of responsible safety standards and test methods for new nanomaterials as well as the coordination of research to generate reliable, peer reviewed data and has called for the adoption of appropriate regulations. DuPont and Environmental Defense jointly developed, published and adopted the Nano Risk Framework, available at www.nanoriskframework.org, which is intended to be used as a process to identify, manage and reduce potential health, safety and environmental risks of nanoscale materials across all lifecycle stages. The company has also testified before the U.S. congress on the safety, health and environmental implications of new nanoscale technologies, and is an active participant in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Party on Health and Environmental Safety Implications of Manufactured Nanomaterials.
DuPont also is recognized as a global leader in the development of new products using biotechnology. The company practices biotechnology with the same commitment to safety that has marked more than 200 years of experience in industrial safety. It complies with regulatory systems in each country where its products are sold; supports rigorous testing and regulatory safeguards that carefully consider both human health and environmental protection; engages a panel of highly regarded outside experts who regularly review its biotech programs (DuPont external Biotech Advisory Panel) and uses its Bioethics Guiding Principles for all biotech projects. For more information, visit www.sustainability.dupont.com.
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. (www.weforum.org/).
DuPont Science & Technology provides technologies and transformational options for new and existing businesses, building on a long, rich legacy of leading-edge science and innovation. DuPont's focus is on connecting its unique technology with keen market insight and foresight to deliver solutions that make peoples lives better, safer and healthier. In 2007, DuPont commercialized over 1,200 new products with strong representation from all five growth platforms. Products commercialized over the last five years accounted for 36 percent of DuPont's total revenue.
DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.
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